Business Processes

There are great many definitions of a business process.  Here are some:

A Process describes a sequence or flow of Activities in an organization with the objective of carrying out work. (BPMN, 2011)

… a business process encompasses a number of events and activities. …When an activity is rather simple and can be seen as one single unit of work, we call it a task. … In addition to events and activities, a typical process involves decision points,  that is, points in time when a decision is made that affects the way the process is executed.  … A process also involves a number of actors (human actors, organizations, or software systems acting on behalf of human actors or organizations), physical objects (equipment, materials, products, paper documents) and immaterial objects (electronic documents and electronic records). … Finally, the execution of a process leads to one or several outcomes      (Dumas, 2013).

A business process (BP) is a set of one or more linked procedures or activities executed following a predefined order which collectively realize a business objective or policy goal, normally within the context of an organizational structure defining functional roles or relationships. A process can be entirely contained within a single organizational unit as well as it can span several different organizations. (Chinosi and Trombetta, 2012)

Hammer and Champy (1993, p. 85) define a business process as ‘a collection of activities whose final aim is the production of a specific output that is of value to the customer. A business process has a goal and is affected by events occurring in the external world or in other processes’.

Aldin and de Cesare (2011) identify the conceptual elements in a business process as follows:

Process: A set of activities, events, etc. that together and cohesively delivers a service and/or a product
Activity: Specific behaviour carried out in an organisation
Service and Product: The observable outcome of value of a process. The traditional distinction between service and product is that the former is intangible while the latter is tangible
Role: The types of actors or agents that take part in processes
Goal: The aim of a process
Event: An occurrence that takes place at a specific point in time and that is capable of inducing some observable behaviour (activity or process)
Rule: A constraint defined for any part of the organisation and its processes


The centre  bases it definition on Aldin and de Cesare (2011) and  defines:

Logo-Bullet A business process (BP) is collection of activities, triggered by event(s) with a specific outcome in mind that fits the goal of the organization.  BP is aimed at a customer with a specific product or service , is served by roles (actors) and governed by rules.